Mothers' Union Baghdad addresses humanitarian crisis
August1, 2007

The Mothers' Union revealed today that it has been distributing
emergency food aid to people in Baghdad through its 400 member-strong
branch in the city.

Utilizing its Emergency Relief Fund, which enables Mothers' Union
branches all over the world to facilitate work in times of crises,
Mothers' Union has sent £5,000 through Canon Andrew White, vicar of St.
George's Baghdad, enabling the members at the church to provide food,
and where necessary blankets and medicine, to hundreds of people
displaced or impoverished throughout the city.

It is not just UK-distributed funding at work.  For many months the
women of the Mothers' Union at St. George's, Baghdad have been
fundraising and making saleable goods themselves in order to provide
supplies for nearby orphanages that are helping the increasing numbers
of children without parents. The women hold meetings once a week and
provide support through food, bedding and school stationery supplies for
orphanages, a local home for disabled children, and for families seeking
support from the church after being forced out of their homes for being
Christian.

Mothers' Union member Canon Andrew, who is Chair of the Foundation for
Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle-East (FRRME) said, "I have been
so impressed with the way the Mothers' Union members have co-ordinated
and distributed the emergency relief aid, they've been fantastic. Aid is
not just going to Christians but to Muslims too, and to members who are
themselves in need. All receive help equally. We have been so impressed
with how these volunteers have co-ordinated the relief work, that I hope
that not just this funding, but humanitarian projects funded by FRRME
will be handled by the Mothers' Union."

Despite the praise, the Mothers' Union are aware that they only have
capacity to help those known to the church, or in the surrounding
communities. Coupled with that, the members are themselves victims of
the constant food shortages and accommodation crises, not to mention the
violence, that threaten the stability of everyday life in Baghdad.

Oxfam International have reported that nearly 30% of all children in
Iraq are malnourished, and that 15% of Iraqi's regularly do not have
enough to eat. Speaking in support of Oxfam's call on agencies and
governments to do more to bring humanitarian aid to civilians in Iraq,
Mothers' Union chief executive, Reg Bailey said "It is a hallmark of the
Mothers' Union that it is a grassroots membership which volunteers
assistance at the local level as and when it is needed. But the
continuing deterioration of the situation in Iraq cannot be sustained
for much longer by and for local people without outside help. We support
Oxfam's call for the international community to do all it can to
encourage governments to bring urgent assistance to people of all faiths
and none, within Iraq."

Statistics supplied with kind permission of Oxfam International

Ends

Notes to Editors:

The Mothers' Union is an international family charity with 3.6 million
members dedicated to promoting marriage and family life. It realises
that the wellbeing of the family cannot be separated from the welfare of
wider communities and therefore undertakes groundbreaking community work
in 78 countries.  
The Mothers' Union branch in Iraq was founded Easter 2006, and
membership now stands at 400.
The branch members, themselves directly affected by the increasing
sectarian tensions, the difficulty in obtaining basic supplies and the
everyday security threats, nevertheless meet every week to pray, and to
gather resources and bring aid to those in the community in need. Many
Christians have had to flee from their homes and are taking refugee in
churches; there are increasing numbers of bereaved families, or orphaned
children who are in need of the basics of life. Alongside food
distribution, Mothers' Union members in Iraq have recently been
providing ongoing assistance to their local community through the
provision of bedding, clothing, and school provisions for children and
meeting requests from desperate families who need financial assistance
to obtain essential surgery or medicines.

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